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July 9, 2015 – Toronto City Council supports Karygiannis’ Motion to recognize Toronto’s 1918 Anti-Greek Riot

TORONTO – Jim Karygiannis, Councillor for Ward 39, is pleased that Toronto City Councillors have voted to recognize Toronto’s 1918 Anti-Greek Riot.

“By passing this Motion, Council has recognized that the riot, which took place between August 2nd and 4th 1918, is an important part of Toronto’s history.” said Councillor Karygiannis. “Most Torontonians don’t know that the Anti-Greek Riot took place.”

Mr. Karygiannis’ Motion reads:

• City Council recognizes the 1918 Anti-Greek Riot, which took place between August 2 and 4, 1918 against the Greek Community in Toronto.

The Anti-Greek riot began on August 2, 1918, when a mob of about 5,000 people took to the streets in downtown Toronto. For three days and nights, the mob waged pitched battles with members of the Toronto Police Force and destroyed every Greek business they came across. By August 4, 1918, more than 20 Greek businesses, mainly restaurants and cafés along Yonge and Queen Streets, had been destroyed and their contents looted. Sixteen police officers were injured, ten seriously; over 150 rioters were hurt, many requiring hospitalization; 25 rioters were arrested; and over $100,000 (approximately one and one quarter million in today’s dollars) worth of damage was done to Greek businesses and private property.
The riot started when a veteran was removed from a Greek owned café. It escalated when a group of World War 1 veterans, who considered Greeks living in Canada and did not fight in the war, to be slackers took to the streets. Greek Canadians did not enlist out of fear that the Canadian Government believed that they held pro-German sentiments.
“The Anti-Greek Riot is one of the darkest and most violent events in Toronto’s history.” Mr. Karygiannis stated. “It reminds each of us how far we have come as we celebrate the multicultural makeup of Toronto.”

2015 marks the 97th Anniversary of the 1918 Anti-Greek Riot in Toronto.